NZ petulance towards Fiji continues

The attitude of NZ politicians towards Fiji has not improved if the interviews given by Paula Bennett and Annette King on Paul Henry are anything to go by.

The neo-colonial big brother attitude still pervades which is what Fijian PM Frank Bainimarama highlighted in his speech yesterday.

Fiji feels aggrieved by their treatment from New Zealand in the past decade, and statements like those by Bennett and King prove his point.

The Fijian Prime Minister’s slapdown at an event intended to honour John Key has been met with disapproval from MPs across the political divide.

Both Labour’s deputy leader Annette King and National Minister Paula Bennett vented their views on Paul Henry.

Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama made a lengthy speech on Thursday justifying the military coup and his ban on some New Zealand journalists.

King said it was insulting to Prime Minister John Key, especially occurring on such an international stage in front of media.

“Take what has happened in the past. Forgive, you don’t forget, move on. He didn’t. And I think to have our Prime Minister being insulted while he grandstands is just not acceptable.”

Fiji had “made progress” in their democratic governance, but freedom of press and human rights were the main issues to look at in Fiji, King said.

“To continue with the blacklists against journalists is unacceptable, and they have not reached what we would find an acceptable democracy.”

Any acceptable democracy? Where does Annette King get off, or any other politician for that matter, attacking the mode of government that Fiji has. They don’t comment on whether or not China has an “acceptable democracy”, or whether Saudi Arabia has an “acceptable democracy”, or whether Pakistan or Iran have “acceptable democracy”. They say nothing about all sorts of other human rights abuses from Islamic countries…but feel free to slam Fiji and how their government operates. This is colonial cringe…those uppity natives in Fiji should be doing what we tell them seems to still be Labour’s prevailing attitude towards Fiji.

She thought Key should have invited Bainimarama to New Zealand to “show him how you go about it”.

“You treat them with respect and you talk about the issues behind closed doors, and you come to some arrangements,” she said.

“You don’t invite someone to your country and then treat them that way.”

What about the way New Zealand treated Fiji, with travel bans, sanctions and international shunning? That wasn’t rude and condescending was it?

National Minister Paula Bennett said Key acted responsibly in not retaliating.

“There is just manners. Just because we might think one person doesn’t have them, doesn’t mean the other one has to lose his.

“I do think we have a Prime Minister with manners, and will have his timing, and will think it through quite carefully. And I think that’s what we’d expect from any Prime Minister quite frankly.”

Bennett said she had travelled to Fiji on Sunday with one of the blacklisted journalists TVNZ’s Barbara Dreaver who had obtained a special pass to call into the airport to refuel. She said it was emotional for Dreaver on a personal and professional level.

Frankly speaking, what would Paula Bennett know about manners? New Zealand has stood and lectured from afar for decades. Fijians have had to suck that up for decades. They are far more honest in their approach by telling it how it is. Now these two politicians have carried on precisely as Bainimarama explained, proving his point.

Of course the Media party have gleefully fomented this in an attempt to paint Frank Bainimarama as a boorish bully. The reality is Fiji is standing up for itself and the uppity politicians and Media party don’t like it. They’d prefer a subservient and obedient Fiji.

Unfortunately for them that boat sailed a long time ago. Fiji has grown up and boy the NZ government and Media parties don’t like it.


– Fairfax


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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